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Local police stepping up enforcement of public health orders

The mandatory mask zone encompasses all of Main Street, as well as some surrounding areas.
Credit: Libby Stanford, Summit Daily
A sign informs visitors of the mandatory mask zone in Breckenridge on July 12. The zone encompasses all of Main Street as well as some surrounding areas.

FRISCO, Colo. — FRISCO — Local law enforcement agencies have stepped up the enforcement of public health orders related to COVID-19, slowly shifting away from umbrella policies of education over prosecution as officials seek to combat soaring case numbers throughout the area.

Last month, Summit County was moved to level red on the state’s COVID-19 dial, and officials released an amended public health order to further tighten restrictions in hopes of avoiding another shutdown. But improving the community’s response to the novel coronavirus is ultimately tied to how well residents and visitors are willing to comply.

Conversations on the topic have ramped up between public health officials, law enforcement leaders and the district attorney’s office in recent weeks, and some officials believe the time has come to swap the carrot for the stick.

“At this stage, everybody has had the opportunity to be educated, and they’ve gotten that message,” 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said. “If you’re not being compliant, then that’s a choice you’ve made, and you’re leaving law enforcement with no other choice but to take action. I think we’re at that inflection point. Rather than saying education is the only alternative, we’re looking at prosecution as an appropriate method. Some people just aren’t going to comply unless there’s somebody twisting their arm.”

Law enforcement leaders in the county said they’re responding to multiple calls a day regarding potential public health order violations. Between April and November, the county’s law enforcement agencies received a total of 648 violation calls, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. There were a total of 268 calls in October and November alone, according to Summit 911 Center Director Jerry Del Valle.

Read the full article at Summit Daily

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